Kauri Dieback Prevention: Relational Values of Knowledge Producers
Researchers and knowledge producers play a key role in kauri dieback knowledge production. Whilst their scientific discoveries are well documented in literature, their personal experiences and stories of working on kauri dieback are not. Yet these experiences and stories give key insights into the factors that shape kauri dieback knowledge production, and provide an understanding of how the current kauri dieback research landscape is operating. This research thesis therefore aims to understand kauri dieback researchers through the lens of relational values, a subset of environmental values. Relational values emerge from the relationships between people and the natural environment and are useful for unpacking the relationship between researchers and kauri trees. Using semi-structured interview data from six kauri dieback knowledge producers this research finds that relational values shape and motivate kauri dieback research. Relational values are therefore inherent in science practices, yet there are forces within the current research landscape that stymie the ability for these values to manifest. This research finds that funding structures, fragmentation in the research space and the urgency of kauri dieback against Aotearoa’s postcolonial backdrop push-back on researcher’s ability to realise their values. In turn this results in researchers feeling burnt-out and frustrated. This research therefore argues the importance of relational values in future considerations of the kauri dieback research landscape to alleviate current tensions and challenges that researchers face in the space.